Monday, December 18, 2017
Sports

Strawberry Crest boys basketball faces tough tourney challenge

TAMPA — Results on the court couldn't determine who was best among Strawberry Crest, Sickles and Armwood. So on Wednesday morning the Florida High School Athletic Association utilized the next-best approach.

Coaches for the teams gathered around a bowl with pieces of paper.

No, seriously, that's how the seeding was determined for next week's Class 6A, District 11 boys basketball tournament. And the Chargers didn't get lucky.

Hoping for the top seed and a relatively easy path to the district final, the Chargers instead will be in the No. 2 position for next week's tourney at Leto. Armwood had the fortune of being drawn as the No. 1.

Hawks head coach Jeff Pafunda joined Chargers coach Andre Lewis in person for the blind draw, held at Leto, while Sickles' Renaldo Garcia was on a conference call.

"Jeff didn't say anything, but he had a big smile on his face," Lewis said after the drawing.

At least the Chargers get a first-round bye. Sickles will have to play Leto on Monday, and, presuming the Gryphons win, they will take on Strawberry Crest Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Wednesday winners meet Friday at 7 p.m. for the district title, both teams assured of a playoff spot.

For its semifinal, Armwood gets to face King or Jefferson, both teams with losing records. Meanwhile, the likely Charger opponent (Sickles) was 19-4 entering the week.

"No disrespect to the other teams, but I think our game with Sickles is really the district championship," Lewis said.

Strawberry Crest did defeat the Gryphons 52-47 in mid December, a result that knocked Sickles off its seemed path to the regular-season district title.

Armwood then knocked off Sickles Jan. 11 to create the tie.

The Chargers are playing well of late, taking five in a row to improve to 15-7. They wrap up the regular season tonight at Lennard.

"It's all about the team that's hottest at the time, and right now we're on a pretty hot streak," Lewis said.

• • •

Armwood ran into a hot team Tuesday — Durant.

The Cougars won by 11 and have won three in a row, seven of 10 heading into tonight's contest with Steinbrenner.

Durant (10-11) is the last-place team in the District 8A-7 tournament, but only because of a narrow series of losses. But the Cougars remain hopeful.

Durant opens Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. against Plant at Bloomingdale, a team that needed a late three-pointer to beat the Cougars 51-49 recently. If the Cougars prevail, they face Alonso, a team they beat in January.

Plant City has home-court advantage for the 7A-8 tourney. The Raiders face a tough Tampa Bay Tech team in opening-round action Tuesday.

The finals are next Friday at 7 p.m..

Comments
Bulls expected to sign at least 6 (and possibly more) this week

Bulls expected to sign at least 6 (and possibly more) this week

At least a half-dozen high school seniors — and possibly more — are expected to sign with USF when the NCAA's new 72-hour early signing period for football commences Wednesday.Homestead South Dade TE Chris Carter Jr., a three-star prospec...
Updated: 5 hours ago
HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

HomeTeam 25: Girls basketball rankings for Tampa Bay

1. Lakewood (10-0)This week: Friday at OsceolaThe buzz: The Spartans have been blowing teams out, but things will get harder over the winter break when they play in the Florida Prospects tournament in Orlando. Senior forward Toi Smith has missed a fe...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs-Falcons: Predicting tonight’s Monday Night Football Game

Bucs-Falcons: Predicting tonight’s Monday Night Football Game

MONDAY NIGHT FRIGHTS Tom Jones, @tomwjones: The Falcons are playing for something. The Bucs are playing out the string. And, well, the Falcons are way better than Tampa Bay. On paper, this game won't be close. It won't be on the field either. If the ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
The Falcons blew a 28-3 lead, but so did the Bucs

The Falcons blew a 28-3 lead, but so did the Bucs

The Falcons blew a 28-3 lead in last season's Super Bowl, and no one will let them forget it.Including the Bucs.During a playful exchange on Twitter in May, Tampa Bay trolled its division rivals by posting a photo of Vernon Hargreaves, No. 28, and Ja...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs Ring of Honor: Which current player will make it?

Bucs Ring of Honor: Which current player will make it?

With Jon Gruden becoming the 11th member of the Bucs’ Ring of Honor tonight, what about current members of the Bucs?Bucs roundtable question: What current Bucs player not named Gerald McCoy is most likely to wind up in the Ring of Honor. Member...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs defense vs. Matt Ryan: What to expect tonight

Bucs defense vs. Matt Ryan: What to expect tonight

Atlanta and Matt Ryan are in town to face the Bucs on Monday Night Football, so it's a chance to revisit a quarterback Tampa Bay knows well, with 19 meetings over the past 10 seasons. A couple of talking points for tonight's game and the challenge ah...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Know the foe: Texas Tech

Know the foe: Texas Tech

A look at Texas Tech, which faces USF in the Birmingham Bowl on SaturdayNickame: Red RaidersRecord: 6-6 (3-6 Big 12)Wins: vs. Eastern Washington, 56-10; vs. Arizona State, 52-45; at Houston, 27-24; at Kansas, 65-19; vs. Baylor, 38-24; at Texas, 27-23...
Updated: 18 minutes ago
Rick and Tom podcast: Will Jon Gruden be the Bucs’ coach next year?

Rick and Tom podcast: Will Jon Gruden be the Bucs’ coach next year?

Jon Gruden will be inducted into the Bucs Ring of Honor tonight, but could it be more than just that as the Glazers may be looking for a new head coach come January? In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether Gruden would coac...
Updated: 4 hours ago
LeBron wears one black shoe and one white shoe, speaks about Trump

LeBron wears one black shoe and one white shoe, speaks about Trump

WASHINGTON — LeBron James made a statement during an NBA game with his shoes — one black, one white, with the word "equality" in capital gold letters on the back of each.Then, after the game, James made a statement about President Donald Trump, sayin...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Jets turn tables on Blues at home

Jets turn tables on Blues at home

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — Connor Hellebuyck was happy to have a hand in helping the Jets get some payback. Less that 24 hours after Winnipeg was shut out in St. Louis, Hellebuyck made 24 saves as the Jets returned the favor with a 4-0 victory over the Blu...
Published: 12/17/17